We applaud Tom Mueller, author of Extra Virginity The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil ( W. W. Norton & Company 2011), for continuing the conversation about deceitful practices and mis-leading advertising claims regarding many of the branded olive oils that are being sold in supermarkets, discount food chains and food warehouses.
Much has been talked about over the past few years in this regard, but this book will finally bring this topic to national attention and to the awareness of the audience that most needs to be informed – consumers.
These branded olive oils are made to be sold cheaply and in huge quantities, and are blended by corporate food companies for their own sales or to be bottled and sold under another brand’s label. These oils are composed of various oils from many sources, and many of these products are not what they seem to be.
Most of these oils are not made exclusively from olive oil – some contain cheaper nut oils. Many of these olive oils, even when composed of olive oils, contain low, industrial grades of oil that do not test positively for purity when examined in a lab. What does this mean? Besides only offering fatty, musty flavors, these olive oils do not contain any of the healthful antioxidants that legitimate extra virgin olive oils are known to have.
The next time you wonder why cheap olive oil is well, cheap, think about why that is and what isn’t in the bottle. As is true for most cheaply made products, buyer beware. These shady olive oil practices by corporations and food packers have been exposed in the past and have been known to us for many years. This is the reason why we have never sold this type of olive oil.
For years, the Olive Center at the University of California at Davis has been leading the charge about deceptive practices in branded olive oil. In April of 2011 they released a study claiming that:
“ a great majority of US consumers are paying a premium for mislabeled oil which fails to meet recognized standards and is often rancid or adulterated.”
According to their testing, they reported that ” out of 134 samples of the five top-selling imported olive oils labeled as extra virgin, the Center reported that 73% failed to meet International Olive Council (IOC) sensory standards. The five brands are Filippo Berio, Bertolli, Pompeian, Colavita and Star ”.
At Cooks Shop Here we are vigilant about the provenance of the extra virgin olive oils that we sell and the people that we support. Our customers can rest assured that all of our extra virgin olive oils are grown, pressed , and bottled by individual olive farmers or olive farmers belonging to the local co-operative from olives that are grown on their own olive farms in France, Greece, Italy, and Spain.
Our extra virgin olive oils are produced in limited quantities and these producers do not bring in ‘other’ oils to extend their yield. These small-scale artisan producers take pride in their craft and their products, and they do not adulterate their olive oils. These are proud family businesses, many of which have been in the olive oil business for generations.
Most of our producers have websites that explain their craft. They can also be reached via email or telephone, and their farms or olive oil pressing mills can often be visited when visiting their particular regions of Europe.
Many of our producers have earned the right to use the coveted DOP ( protected origin ) mark on their olive oils. Unlike the interest of corporate concerns, the goal of our olive producers is to press delicious, distinctive olive oil that delivers superior, luscious flavor that is indicative of the specific olive varieties used in the oil and the terroir where the olive trees grow.
We carefully & specifically select each extra virgin olive oil that we sell so that each brings to the table the excellent range of flavors that a particular region and country is known for. These unique terroirs, coupled with the diversity of local varieties of olive trees and their fruit (olives ) add character to the distinctive cuisine of the Mediterranean, and will add delicious flavor and healthful benefits to your food.
For more information about our extra virgin olive oils, please visit our website: www.CooksShopHere.com